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NY BioHud Valley: Branding the Next Biotech Hotspot

New York's Hudson Valley Economic Development Corporation (HVEDC) is pushing its biotech and pharmaceutical cluster as the next industry hotspot.

Area Development Online Research Desk (Winter 2011)
The Area Development Front Line series offers insight into successful, innovative strategies taken by businesses; intelligence on locations that are deploying winning policies that attract investment and talent; and reports on industry trends that affect and shape the global business climate now and in the future.
Situated between the New York State capital of Albany and New York City, the Hudson Valley stretches for approximately 100 miles along the Hudson River. While biotech and pharmaceutical companies have called the region home for years, the Hudson Valley Economic Development Corporation (HVEDC) is boosting the cluster's profile with NY BioHud Valley, a marketing program that intends to attract new businesses to the area and grow existing firms.

Silicon Valley for Biotech
More than 60 biotech companies are located across the seven counties that comprise NY BioHud Valley's domain, employing thousands of local residents. Proximity to the New York metro area - which comprises 60 percent of the country's pharmaceutical industry - as well as the metro's more than 200 academic research outfits, medical centers, and laboratories means that companies at all stages of growth have abundant, world-class resources.

"Biotech in the state of New York is really at its epicenter in the Hudson Valley," says Michael Oates, HVEDC president and CEO. The industry cluster is especially important to the region's overall economy. Development within the bio cluster spurs growth in other sectors, helping to diversify the region's economy. The cluster's significance, as well as a push from bio/pharma businesses, sparked the NY BioHud Valley campaign.

Oates and Ron Hicks, president and CEO of the nearby Rockland Economic Development Corporation, say that branding the region will give it name recognition for those in the industry.

"Just like Silicon Valley in California and Research Triangle Park in North Carolina, we're branding ourselves as the place for biotechnology," Hicks says.

Even while developing the campaign, many involved were unaware of just how many bio/pharma companies were located in the area. "We have an incredible cluster here and we need to foster that cluster and grow it," Hicks says.

Bio Businesses Anticipate Growth
Local companies are partnering on NY BioHud Valley to realize the program's goals. Regeneron Pharmaceuticals and Aureon Laboratories, two key partners, anticipate the campaign to strengthen the cluster - and their own growth.

From a studio apartment on Manhattan's Upper West Side to Westchester, Regeneron has been located in Tarrytown since 1988. Proximity to New York City and its science-based educational and research institutions brought it to the region. While it has grown significantly since its startup days, that growth might have proved impossible without the encouragement of the cluster.

"We used to borrow the proverbial cup of sugar," says Joanne Deyo, vice president of facilities. "None of us were competitors, but something as simple as that for companies that are starting up, that can be very important."

In Yonkers, Aureon's Vice President of Operations, Charles DiComo, expects NY BioHud Valley to "help rally everybody together and get things done." DiComo described the cluster before the campaign as "fractured and siloed," but the program is helping overcome those divisions. NY BioHud Valley could also serve as a model for other industries, lifting the economy of the entire region.

"They can look at this part of the country as a very rich area to start your business, particularly in bio and life sciences," DiComo says. "It could be a boilerplate for other industries."

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